If everything about the Dakar rallies and classic competition bikes of the 1980s appeals to you, then chances are good that you may already know about the Sandraiders. For those unfamiliar, it’s an annual event that gathers amateur Dakar enthusiasts and their classic rally raid bikes to go ride some of the routes used in Paris to Dakar competitions of yore.
It’s a guided tour, complete with logistical support, mechanics, and medics—designed to encourage and support amateurs. The organization’s mission statement, in fact, says that “SandRaiders is an adventure designed for amateur bikers who have always wanted to take part in a rally raid but are not sure how to do so.”
The 2023 edition ran from April 29 through May 7, 2023, and noted vintage bike enthusiast Harry (of Harry’s Garage on YouTube) and his son were among the 117 (!) riders who showed up with their bikes to take part. The course ran along 1,600 kilometers (about 994 miles) of tracks that were used back in the day in Morocco. The event started in Marrakech, then ran seven stages through Taroudant, Tata, Chegaga, Zagora, Boulmane, and Merzouga before crossing the finish line in Erfoud.
If this is the kind of event that’s completely up your alley and you missed it in 2023, no worries—Harry shot video and is uploading his Sandraiders 2023 series to YouTube, one video at a time. This first video shows us the start, complete with the revelation of just how many bikes showed up for the 2023 round.
The start of the event already showcased some of the stunning scenery that the area in and around Marrakech has to offer. Although Harry didn’t experience technical difficulties the first day, the mechanics were already busy with some other bikes—but that’s probably to be expected, given both the age of these bikes and the unforgiving terrain they’re traversing.
The event lasted seven days, with a new stage each day. The documentation is quite clear about what’s included and what’s expected of riders, if you’re interested in potentially joining the fun yourself in 2024. We’ll include a link to the Sandraiders official page in our Sources if you want to check it out.